A Moveable Feast

The version reviewed is the revised edition (“restored”) by Hemingway’s grandson in 2009. It wasn’t universally appreciated, mainly because people resist change, especially when it comes to a famous author’s famous work. I’m not going to go into the details here but go Google the topic for yourself and you can read the pros and cons of this version over that one. Let’s just say this version is kinder to young Hemingway’s grandmother.

Much of the back and forth debate is typical of family dynamics. Hemingway went through a lot of women and the original version of the book was published in 1964 by his fourth and last wife, who edited his work with an eye toward herself. It’s hard to fault her for being human and that seems to be the same truth for the new edition edited by the grandson.

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Zen Is Not Enough

Ernest Hemingway defined courage as “grace under pressure”, but I don’t think that goes far enough. It’s insufficient to achieve zen-like tranquility of inner equilibrium in the midst of outer chaos. For that, a lobotomy will do just fine. Being able to stay calm only gets you so far.

The church celebrates the Confession of St Peter on this day, January 18th as a remembrance of Peter’s bold statement to Jesus “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:15).  It’s important to remember that much was still ahead of Peter.  It was fear that later caused him to deny Christ and remorse consumed him afterward, but it was his love for Jesus that led him to a life of bold leadership, ultimately resulting in his martyrdom.

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To Time’s Analysis

F. Scott Fitzgerald died on this day, December 21st in 1940. Scott and his wife Zelda personified the manic depressive world of The Roaring Twenties which saw a zenith of monetary excess concluding with The Crash of Wall Street.  His beautiful prose is among the best of the twentieth century.  His friend Ernest Hemingway said, “His talent was as natural as the pattern that was made by the dust on a butterfly’s wings.”

Fitzgerald’s life ended in the tragedy he seemed to foresee.  In Tales of the Jazz Age, he wrote

At any rate, let us love for a while, for a year or so, you and me. That’s a form of divine drunkenness that we can all try. There are only diamonds in the whole world, diamonds and perhaps the shabby gift of disillusion.

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